Scientists have discovered a terrifying-sounding new worm in a human eye
Try reading this without scratching your eyes...
Eye worms that had previously only manifested themselves in the eyes of cattle, have infected a human for the first time.
Scientists from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported the transmission between animal and humans.
The study, published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, showed the first known instance in the world of a human infection with Thelazia gulosa, a worm species previously seen only in cattle.
Abby Beckley had been working on a fishing boat in Alaska when she first noticed her eye was irritated and she was suffering from a migraine.
Five days later, she returned to port where she used to mirror to examine her eye properly and pulled out a tiny, translucent worm.
Speaking to CNN, she said, "I looked at it, and it was moving, and then it died within about five seconds."
Researchers discovered that she is the first known person to suffer an eye infestation of the worm species previously seen only on cattle, and is transferred by flies.
In total, 14 translucent parasitic worms were pulled from her eye over a 20 day period.
“Previously, it was thought that there were only two different species of these eye worms that infected humans worldwide,” said Richard Bradbury, who led one of the studies. “Now, we have to add Thelazia gulosa, a third one to the list.”
According to the researchers, if left untreated the worms can cause corneal scarring and even blindness.